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When to self-isolate

Students, faculty, and staff who self-isolate need to complete a COVID-19 self-isolation form.

Updated: March 03, 2021

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Understand the circumstances when self-isolation is necessary.
  • Complete the COVID-19 self-isolation form.
  • If new or worsening symptoms develop, contact your health care provider.

Employees and students should self-isolate and complete a COVID-19 self-isolation form if they:

  • Have tested positive for COVID-19
  • Develop symptoms of a COVID-19 infection
  • Are awaiting COVID-19 test results
  • Have had close contact with someone known to be diagnosed with COVID-19
  • Have been advised to self-isolate by a health authority
  • Have recently returned from a cruise (ocean or river)

What if I previously tested positive for COVID-19?

According to the CDC, people who have previously tested positive for COVID-19 and completed their isolation do not need to isolate or be tested again for up to three months as long as they do not develop symptoms again. People who develop symptoms again within three months of a COVID-19 diagnosis should consult a health care provider. Continue to monitor your health daily for symptoms. Stay home anytime you do not feel well.

COVID-19 self-isolation form

All self-isolating faculty, staff, and students should promptly and accurately complete a COVID-19 self-isolation form. The form gives university staff the information they need to respond appropriately.

Complete the COVID-19 self-isolation form.

How to reduce your chances of having to self-isolate

By wearing a face covering as directed and keeping six feet of physical distance from others, employees and students can reduce their chances of having to self-isolate because of close contact with a person with COVID-19.

Reducing your chances of being a close contact is just one of the benefits of wearing face coverings as directed. Wearing a face covering and maintaining social distance protects you, protects others, and helps keep campus open.

Learn more about the requirement to wear a face covering.

Vaccination status

Your vaccination status may affect whether you need to self-isolate after being exposed to COVID-19. Complete the COVID-19 self-isolation form, and contact tracing will advise you. Until advised by contact tracing, follow health and safety guidelines for quarantine or isolation.


To avoid exposure during travel, follow the same health and safety behaviors as at home. Wear a mask. Practice social distancing. Wash hands frequently. Clean frequently touched surfaces and monitor your health.

Anyone coming to campus who recently traveled, whether in the US or internationally, should decide whether they need to self-isolate based on local travel restrictions, the rate of community spread to which they have been exposed, any specific known exposures, and their own health assessment .

The CDC offers travel resources to help you assess your situation and determine if you need to self-isolate because of travel.

Learn more about the status of university travel.

Contact tracing

Anyone who submits a COVID-19 self-isolation form will be contacted by the university contact tracing staff. The response time is generally within 24 hours but can vary depending on case loads.

The contact tracing team’s role is to check on a student or employee’s situation, help connect them to support resources, provide guidance, and help contact others who may need to take precautions.

Students and employees are asked to promptly respond to communications (text, call, or email) from local health authorities and the university’s contact tracing team.

How and where to self-isolate

There are two types of self-isolation.

  • Quarantine is for people who may have been exposed because of close contact with a COVID-19 case, travel, or other reasons.
  • Isolation is for people who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have symptoms of COVID-19.

Your health care provider or the university’s contact tracing team will determine whether you need to quarantine or isolate.

To learn more about what to expect in quarantine or isolation, including precautions you need to take, university-arranged quarantine and isolation space for on-campus students, meal options, academics, and health and care, read the guide on how and where to self-isolate.

If symptoms develop

If you are self-isolating as a precaution and develop symptoms, contact your health care provider or, if needed, your local emergency room. It is important to call ahead before going to a health care provider or ER.

View the CDC’s list of COVID-19 symptoms.

Learn more about what to do if you feel sick.

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